fastjet, Africa’s first low-cost airline, commenced commercial flight operations today with its first aircraft flying passengers from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza in Tanzania.
The fastjet A319 left Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere airport at 06:00 almost full to capacity; well over half the passengers on board paid USD$20 (excluding taxes and charges) for their seat.
The maiden flight marks the official start of fastjet’s commercial operations in Africa; fully on schedule.
Chief executive Ed Winter personally welcomed passengers on board.
A second A319 carrying more fastjet customers on the airline’s second route from Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania set off later the same morning.
Travelling on board with passengers, chief commercial officer Richard Bodin said: “I would like to extend a warm welcome to all our new passengers travelling today, a very special day for us.
“Today’s flights to Kilimanjaro and Mwanza mark the start of a new, revolutionary, smart way to travel for African people, and our first steps towards becoming a low cost, reliable pan-African airline.”
Ticket sales for flights on fastjet’s first two routes have been very strong since sales started just over two weeks ago.
Seats are being secured well in advance by passengers with bookings into February 2013.
Earlier this week, the launch of fastjet was celebrated at an industry event at Julius Nyerere airport, during which the deputy minister of transport for Tanzania Charles Tizeba said: “I would like to congratulate fastjet on its decision to choose Tanzania for its first base in Africa in providing low cost domestic and regional air transport services.
“The government recognises the need for the low cost air operations and its immense contribution to the development of the air transport industry in the country and the overall development of our economy.”